Since you Asked

Cora Dusk

Cora Dusk

The refugee family we are sponsoring from Afghanistan is currently in Pakistan waiting to come to Canada.  What is the cost of the new refugee exit visa from Pakistan and who pays this fee?  Is assistance available?

 

The BBC and other news agencies reported in October 2023 that Pakistan was ordering Afghan asylum seekers to leave either voluntarily or via forced deportation.  Many of these individuals entered Pakistan after the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan in 2021, while others entered Pakistan earlier.

 

On November 1, 2023, the Pakistani government instituted an exit visa fee for undocumented refugees and illegal immigrants who had overstayed their visas.  Afghans who were returning directly to Afghanistan were exempted from the fee but Afghan refugees awaiting resettlement in other countries were required to pay the exit fee before being able to travel to their new country. The exit fee of $830 USD began to be applied to all refugee and immigrant departures on Nov. 1, 2023.  The fee applies to each member of the refugee family departing Pakistan for Canada and other Western countries. 

 

When first announced, refugees were required to pay with a credit card and this was problematic as many did not have credit cards. As of right now, the Canadian government pays this exit fee and travel costs to Canada for the refugees settling here.  These charges are then added to the overall travel costs to be reimbursed back to the Canadian government by the newcomers which means most Afghan refugees arriving via Pakistan arrive here with a significant debt load.